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Man accused of shooting mother with shotgun deemed fit for trial, despite delusional disorder – ABC News

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Man accused of shooting mother with shotgun deemed fit for trial, despite delusional disorder
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A man accused of shooting his elderly mother has been declared fit for trial, despite previously being deemed unfit due to his delusional disorder.
Former Wentworth Shire Council deputy mayor Paul Cohrs will face a Supreme Court trial for the murder of his 82-year-old mother Bette Cohrs, who died at her Red Cliffs home in north-west Victoria in October 2018.
Following the alleged murder, Mr Cohrs turned the shotgun on himself.
He represented himself in the Supreme Court in Melbourne today and rejected the offer of a lawyer appointed by Victorian Legal Aid.
Justice Lesley Taylor explained to Mr Cohrs that two substantive hearings, six months apart, had occurred to investigate his capacity to stand trial.
"What the legislation says is that period of 12 months is the period in which there is an opportunity for you to become well enough, if you can, to stand your trial," Justice Taylor said.
"That's the 12 months we're at now, and the period expires in two days' time."
Twelve months ago, Justice Taylor ordered that Mr Cohrs was unfit to stand a regular trial because of his delusional disorder.
At the time, a report from psychiatrist Maria Triglia stated Mr Cohrs's illness was such that it was interfering with his ability to understand certain aspects of the trial.
The court heard today that two psychiatrists' reports tendered to the court indicated that while the disorder persisted, it had weakened enough to enable Mr Cohrs to comprehend the trial proceedings.
Justice Taylor considered the two psychiatrists' assessments before deciding that Mr Cohrs was fit for trial and presented that information to Mr Cohrs.
Accepting the psychiatrists' assessments, the accused waived the need for further evidence.
Consequently, Justice Taylor ruled that Mr Cohrs was fit to stand trial in the regular manner.
Mr Cohrs expressed a preference to remain at the Thomas Embling Hospital in Melbourne until the trial commenced, citing the need for access to phones and computers to prepare his case.
Previously, Dr Triglia had testified that the accused experienced persecutory delusions and fixed false beliefs of being the target of a conspiracy.
Dr Triglia previously suggested antipsychotic medication for Mr Cohrs, but he refused to take any medication, stating concerns about unwarranted medical treatment.
Justice Taylor supported advice for Mr Cohrs to remain at Thomas Embling Hospital where he felt "comfortable" and "respected".
Mr Cohrs is expected to stand trial early next year.
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